Doing old things in a new way- that is innovation. With this sentiment, by Joseph Schumpeter, one of the world’s most noteworthy economists of the twentieth century, I begin to recount my “Tesla Experience.” After four days behind the wheel of the Tesla ModelS 100D, I have a different view of the concept of a car. First of all, because it was not born from a traditional car manufacturer, one immediately understands not only the creative and technological thought, but also the functional idea that lies behind this car.
The brains behind this small masterpiece of high level design and engineering is the well-known entrepreneur Elon Musk, philanthropist and businessman famous for disrupting three key economic industries: automotive with Tesla Motors, astronautics with SpaceX and renewable energy with Solar City. Under his guidance, the Tesla automobile looks almost like a device- certainly smart- and like all other devices requires a battery charge... almost constantly!
Pointing out that I am a lover of racing, horsepower, the rumble of a gasoline engine and of the beauty of the manual transmission (whether in a 1950s Porsche 356 or an Aston Martin Vantage that I drive almost daily), I was intrigued to test drive and understand Tesla’s power. My experience with the Model S represents experiencing the car in everyday life, between business trips, city traffic, parking- everything from meetings, to emails and phone calls, and also travel.
1) DISTINGUISHING ONESELF AND RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
To drive a Tesla means that you are an innovator, you like to stand out, you have a technological inclination, and despite the total absence of sound the car makes as it roams the city in complete silence, all eyes are on it because today it is the breakout car, lusted after by many- above all, Millennials. Inside is a liquid crystal screen for connected to the internet, listening to music or consulting the manual, a real on-board computer that also connects to the phone. It just needs to talk, and it would resemble KITT from Knight Riders. And moreover, it does not pollute.
2) SUPER POWER
3, 2, 1... Go! From the start, the Tesla has a torque that gives it sportscar-like performance capability, a 0-100 acceleration that ranges from 2.7 seconds to 4.4 seconds (depending on the version you drive). In everyday driving, this power translates into immediate and rapid acceleration from a stop and while passing or changing lanes.
3) GUIDANCE BY APP
Always Connected: with the Tesla app you can check the car at any time. For example, I never remember if I’ve locked the doors. The control centre helps greatly in finding the car in a parking lot, where you can make it flash, honk or see its precise position, but even more interestingly, it allows you to pre-emptively turn on the air conditioning so you find the car at the ideal temperature as you enter.
4) GUIDE AND ASSISTED PARKING
Drive Experience: the steering is an automatic transmission, positioned at the side of the steering wheel, near the turn signals. The car features a number of driving support systems, such as autopilot, adaptive cruise control, Lane Assist and the suspension and driving profile configuration. So many, in fact, that I couldn’t test them all. After all, lovers of driving like me want to have full control of the vehicle.
5) DIFFERENT TIMES
Upon seeing me with a Tesla, I was frequently asked about the car’s autonomy, where it could be recharged and listened to many doubts about the use of an electric car in everyday life. Tesla drivers are well aware that recharge opportunities are nearly ubiquitous and often free; cities offer numerous charge between private car parks, hotels and Tesla Superchargers (a 60% charge in about 30 minutes). All you need to do is plan to recharge at the hours that correspond to non-use of the vehicle (at night, during work hours, lunch break, a lot like the smartphone). In addition, the on-board system always alerts the driver when it needs to be recharged and the battery level is always present on the screen. There are two batteries, the primary and a reserve one in case of emergency.
Now it’s time to finish my test drive. I open the trunk, unload my suitcase from the last 4 days of travel between Milan and Bologna, and leave behind the carshaped key, yet another innovative detail of this well-designed car.
Words: Andrea Mazzuca, Founder
Photos: Vincenzo Traettino
Car: courtesy of Tesla Italia